Warren Rynmiller, February 8, 2016


Warren Rynmiller, February 8, 2016


Wagar Brothers' Dairy
Ice Cream Shop
Troy, NY
Dairy Farming


Warren Rynmiller recounts his years working at the ice cream shop at his family's dairy, Wagar Brothers' Dairy.


Carly Faison


Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of New York-College at Oneonta




Cooperstown Graduate Association, Cooperstown, NY


28.8 mB
28.8 mB
20 mB
1.3 mB








Upstate New York
Troy, NY


Carly Faison


Warren Rynmiller


12 Magill Ave.
Troy, NY


Summary of interview with time stamps
WR: Warren Rynmiller
PM: Miss Pam Allie Morrill
CF: Carly Faison

[START OF TRACK 1, 0:00]
Introductions, Warren Rynmiller tells where and when he was born and has lived


Warren discusses the introduction of pasteurization in 1932 and how Wagar’s Brothers’ Dairy created their own pasteurization plant. Six men went in on the new plant, Freeman, Clifford, Elmer and Clayton William (Warren’s uncles), Lester Schuman [sp?] (the brother in-law), and Benjamin Pinney.


WR: “Well I started working at the dairy in the ice cream bar in 1939 when they opened it up. I
was fourteen years old. They hired several of the local young men around to go to work there.”

Warren continues to describe his responsibilities of dipping ice cream, and a lot of it. He was also a milk boy.


WR: “When we were dipping ice cream we worked four nights a week, at least I did, and four
hours a night, 7-11, and we got 25 cents an hour and then in the morning I was a milk boy, they delivered milk into the city and I was a milk boy and that was seven days a week, Saturday’s and Sunday’s. I got three dollars and a half a week for that. As a kid at that time, I was very well off. I’d have four dollars in the ice cream in the ice cream bar, I’d have three dollars and a half on the milk route, it gave me seven dollars and a half a week. That actually was more than some fathers were making working. I was able to buy all my own clothes, take the girls out.


Warren describes “taking out” girls to square dancing at Carol’s Grove [sp?] every Saturday night, then going to Fazziola’s [sp?] in Troy after dancing.


Warren explains Wagar product; ice cream, milk, cream, butter, cottage cheese, and buttermilk. Then homogenized milk came a little later.
About 20 basic ice cream flavors, branching out included pistachio and toasted almond fudge.


WR: “In those days they didn’t make all flavors, chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, we had what we called the brown cow. The brown cow was chocolate milk and we would put any flavor of ice cream in it you wanted. The basic was vanilla ice cream or chocolate ice cream in the chocolate milk.”


Closing responsibilities: filling ice cream holding bin for the next day, cleaning.


Farm Equipment:
Pasteurization Plant
Bottle washing machine


WR: “The area farmers would bring their milk in every morning to the dairy, and there the milk was dumped into a large vat, it was weighed, and it was tested for butter fat. The farmers were paid according to what their milk tested and weighed, and that was seven days a week.”


Physical description of the dairy and ice cream shop


WR: “But we had competition, we were not the only ice cream bar around here. There was several over inside Brunswick. You had Duncan’s down the road, you had Jordan’s. But, we were the best and we sold the most ice cream in the summertime.”


Speaks about poverty and the treat of getting ice cream in 1939.


The beginning of Wagar’s Dairy and the difficulty of getting the money to do so.
Warren’s grandmother gave $25,000 to help her sons start the dairy.


The process of inheriting the 85 acres of land for the dairy from Warren’s grandmother and grandfather.


Information on Uncle Cy (Elmer) and Aunt Polly

Order of the Brothers from oldest to youngest
Elmer (Cy)

Sisters (unknown if in age order)
Grace (Warren’s Mother)
Audna (Lester Schuman’s wife)


When Warren says the city, he is referring to Troy


Always had 2 hired men as staff for the farm owned by Grandma Warren, run by William and Cy. Usually around 60 head of cattle.


WR: “It might be interesting to know that 85-acre farm was sold in 1964 ---

PM: [whispers] “The last year they pasteurized”

WR: “For $45,000 dollars. Now it’s worth a fortune. They grated off one whole side and built Spring Landing in there. All those lovely homes all of them worth in the $200,000 range. But that was all sold in ’64.”


Milk- 12 or 15 cents a quart
Ice cream scoop: 25 cents for a big scoop and a small for a dime
Brown Cow: 25 cents


Reasons for ice cream shop getting shut down during the war. People couldn’t get gas to get out to the farm, everything was rationed.


Explanation for the gradual slowdown of the farm. It was shut down by 1959 and was eventually sold in 1964.
Pam and Warren discuss the date, Pam said she thought it was 1964, Warren believes it was before then, but is unsure.


Pam asks Warren about the difference between the Wager Brother’s who made ice cream in Troy and the dairy Warren’s family owned.



Reasons for dairy shutting down, explains that none of the grandchildren wanted a part in it. Speaks about factory jobs in the city and the difficulty of staffing the farm when competing with the wages offered in the city.


3 or 4 large farms (like Harrington Farm) now run all of the farms in the area and the land is worth a fortune.


(Pam asking questions about the farm)
Warren’s memories of Wagar Farm and barn. Details on cows, chickens, pigs, horses, guinea hens.
Grazing locations for cows


Construction of Spring Landing and the manipulation of the hills and swamp to create a level place to build.


The process of cooking and eating dandelions. Emphasis on free food and using everything the land offered to sustain your family.


Warren talks about his diet and the farm products he and his family consumed.

WR: “I eat butter, I don’t eat margarine, I drink light cream, I don’t drink skim milk or half and half. I use light cream. And cottage cheese, love it, and ice cream, milk, all the products we have really. I lived my life on them and I’m 90, so there’s something right!”


Described who the customers for the farm were and how delivery systems to the city worked. Specifically delivering milk to Jewish families and the education he got from entering different homes.


The ice cream shop offered a place to learn work ethic and how to deal with all types of people.


Talks about relationship with Eugene McClaren [sp?] who was a fellow worker at the ice cream shop. Elaborates on relationships other co-workers. Fred Wagar, Evert Bubislinger [sp?] who have passed.


Physical description of dairy and the ice cream shop. All blue and white.


WR: “They would come up, get their ice cream and go to back to their cars. I think many friendships were made there while the families were eating the ice cream with their kids and so on.


Process of farmer’s bringing their milk to get pasteurized the Wagar Brother’s Dairy in 1932.
Oscar Miller and Welch would buy pasteurized milk from the dairy.


Warren’s favorite memories of the dairy and ice cream shop. He speaks of the closeness of his family because of the business and family traditions.


The story of the skim milk vat and the crow.
Seeing the pretty ladies at the ice cream bar.



Conversation about uniforms at the different positions, ice cream bar and milk delivery.


Speaking about doing milk deliveries in the morning

WM: “It was a great experience, here again, delivering milk you met all kinds of wonderful people and you net some that weren’t so nice and you soon learn how to differentiate between the two by just meeting someone you grew to know if the were going to be a nice friendly person or if they were going to be a little on the not so nice side.”


Construction phases of the barn and ice cream bar.


Description of the office where the accountant worked.


The role of the swamp. All of the broken bottles, cans from ice cream were put out in the swamp, they are all still there.


Cemetery of the Carner’s [sp?] (mostly children) was up on the hill and one day during construction of Spring Landing, the hill was gone. Some of the graves were moved to the Elmwood Hill cemetery.


The development of the barn/farm by Warren’s grandparents when they originally bought the property.


Story about milk before pasteurization (1920’s). Using a natural spring to keep the milk cold.


Each one of the four brothers and Lester Schuman had a milk route, so they combined the five milk routes to help build the pasteurization plant. This allowed them to not have to pay for someone else to pasteurize their milk and they could just do it themselves.


Lester Schuman’s daughter, Barbara Ives, lives in Florida and can tell many stories about being around the ice cream bar as a child.


Thank-you and closing remarks

Comments on a video done for the New Brunswick Historical Society the includes content on the Wagar Brother’s Dairy.


30:00 - Part 1
30:00 - Part 2
20:47 - Part 3

Bit Rate/Frequency


Time Summary

Track 1 00:41 - Wagar Brothers' Dairy
Track 1 02:59 - Ice Cream Shop
Track 1 08:24 - Ice Cream Flavors
Track 1 16:00 - Beginning of Wagar Brothers' Dairy
Track 2 00:40 - Dairy Shutting Down
Track 3 01:17 - Milk Delivery




Carly Faison, “Warren Rynmiller, February 8, 2016,” CGP Community Stories, accessed August 4, 2020, http://cgpcommunitystories.org/items/show/252.